If you think Londoners are always complaining about public transport, you should try catching a bus in Malta. Travel problems have become so bad that a man went on hunger strike over modified bus routes this summer, a situation that was only diffused when the prime minister paid a personal visit to the aggrieved and convinced him to eat two kiwi fruits. Last month hundreds of disgruntled commuters marched through the streets in protest about the new system.
And now, to add more spice to the situation, British transport company Arriva has shipped its bendy buses over to the island.
The exact same buses, in fact, to which Boris Johnson bid a “final but not fond farewell” when they were removed from London on Friday because they couldn’t navigate the city’s narrow streets.
Itchy wasn’t immediately convinced by Copita’s more-bar-than-restaurant vibe. Even early on a Tuesday evening the place was a little unpleasantly noisy, filled with trendy City-types perched on tall bar stools at inconveniently small tables. It’s self-consciously ‘authentic’, we thought, with its terracotta bowls and untranslated Spanish menu that forces you to surreptitiously google the dishes on your phone in order to avoid looking ignorant in front of your fellow diners.
It was with some reservation, then, that we clambered gracelessly onto our bar stools to peruse the menu. Faced with a page of tapas dishes we didn’t recognise – Copita is not a tortilla kind of place – we quickly ordered a bottle of house white. This was the first pleasant surprise of the evening. At £18 it’s not the cheapest drink we’ve ever had but it was delicious and got the meal off to a good start.
It’s getting colder and darker; Winter has officially begun and we know what’s at the top of your mind: Hot chocolate. Big delicious cups of the stuff. With cream. Itchy has done the hard work for you and sampled a disgusting quantity of hot chocolates around London to sift out the weak, powdery ones and bring you only the finest, thickest, creamiest of them all. You’re welcome.
La Maison du Chocolat, 46 Piccadilly, W1J ODS
Shooting straight to the top of our list is this classy Mayfair establishment. A few pounds (it’s best not to think about how many exactly) will buy you a cup of what appears to be pure melted chocolate and a seat in the sumptuous surroundings. A tad on the pricey side but definitely worth it.